Wondering how in the world you’re going to get your guest list down to a reasonable size when you have a ton of cousins, even more buddies from college, the gang from work to consider and 793 Facebook friends? Just who is going to be filling those seats at your wedding?
Never fear! Dawn is here to help you break the task down to 10 manageable steps, set your priorities and RELAX about the whole thing!
Step 1: Here’s what you need to do first: Take a good, hard look at your budget, consider the capacity of your venue and come up with an Actual Guest List Number. Take your time with this. Think carefully. Because once you come up with that number…
Step 2: … Do. Not. Change. That. Number. (Not unless a rich European aunt sends you an extra $20,000 for the wedding or some similar event happens.) Trust us. It’s better this way. It makes everything after this easier.
Step 3: Make four lists:
• Immediate family members (parents, grandparents, siblings, children)
• Close extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins)
• Closest friends
• Acquaintances and co-workers
Step 4: Add up everyone in each list separately, then add all the lists together to determine your Wish Guest List Number. Prepare to be blown away. Take some deep breaths. Calm down. It’s going to be ok.
Step 5: Now compare the Actual Guest List Number to the Wish Guest List Number. This is the moment of truth, and it’s when the real work starts. It’s also when you’ll be really, really glad you make those lists from Step 3.
Step 6: Where does the Actual number fall within the lists of your Wish number? Does it mean you have to completely eliminate acquaintances and co-workers from your guest list? Could you manage to invite just aunts and uncles and no cousins so you can squeeze in a few good friends? Would you prefer to invite all of your college friends and no co-workers at all, or vice versa? Remember that when you’re inviting guests to an emotional event like a wedding, the “all or nothing” approach is what works best. You usually can’t invite just a few co-workers without causing an office division. And you can’t invite one aunt and leave another one out. Not worth the uproar at future family reunions. Trust us.
Step 7: Take all four Wish lists you’ve created and start highlighting the “must-invite” and crossing out the definite “not-inviting” people. Re-tally the lists as you go until you reach your Actual Guest List Number. Be prepared to compromise, to scribble out and to re-highlight a few times. This is tough work.
Step 8: Now start a spreadsheet on your computer and create the Actual Guest List. Once you’ve gotten it saved, walk away. Go to a movie, have dinner, challenge your fiancé to mean game of Scrabble. Or badminton. Or both.
Step 9: Come back to the list in a few days. Still look and feel ok to you both? Have any thoughts during your hiatus? Make those changes and let it sit for another day or two.
Step 10: You’re done. Stick with it. Be firm. Come up with a reply you both agree on to tell those not-invited people who will ask you if they’re invited (because they will). You could say, “Our venue only holds so many people, and it was hard not to be able to invite everybody. We’d love to get together with you before/after the wedding, though. How about dinner at our house?” Or something like that.